U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., today helped secure House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) support for the core components of a bipartisan rules change package designed to make it easier for bipartisan bills to get a vote. The Problem Solvers Caucus, on which Murphy is a leading voice, sought these reforms to the House rules as part of its “Break the Gridlock” proposal, first proposed in June. Since then, Murphy and other Problem Solvers have consistently said they would only support a nominee for House Speaker who embraced these reforms. Democratic Problem Solvers achieved this victory following a series of meetings with Pelosi and other senior House Democrats. After securing Pelosi’s public commitment to adopt these commonsense reforms, Murphy voted to support Leader Pelosi’s bid for Speaker in today’s Democratic Caucus meeting, and said she will vote for Leader Pelosi for Speaker on the floor of the House on Jan. 3, 2019.
“I appreciate Leader Pelosi’s willingness to work with the Problem Solvers Caucus to support concrete reforms that will facilitate bipartisan cooperation in what will be a divided Congress,” Murphy said. “The American people are tired of hyper-partisan gridlock and want to see Members of Congress working together to solve the major challenges we face today as a nation. Holding true to the promise I made to my constituents, I’m proud we secured these commonsense rules reforms that will increase transparency and consensus building in the U.S. Congress. As the first woman Speaker she has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with and someone willing to listen to the diverse voices that make the Democratic Caucus great. I look forward to working with both parties in the 116th Congress to find solutions on critical issues important to central Florida families like health care, immigration, and infrastructure.”
Rules and Reforms Agreement
1. Every Member Gets a Voice: Adopt a rule creating a “Consensus Calendar.” Once a bill reaches 290 co-sponsors, a 25 legislative day clock will begin. If the primary committee of jurisdiction does not report the bill by the end of the 25 legislative days, the legislation will be placed on the new “Consensus Calendar” where it will remain until the bill is considered. For every in-session week, after February 28th of the First Session and before September 30th of the Second Session, majority leadership will be required to bring at least one bill on the “Consensus Calendar” to the Floor.
2. Bipartisan Amendments: Create a Rules Committee Protocol that specifically adds a preference to amendments that comply with the rules, and have at least twenty Members of each party cosponsoring the amendment.
3. Modernize the Discharge Petition: Allow discharge petitions to be considered under a 3-day notice process similar to privileged resolutions in order to facilitate their use and effectiveness, while still requiring 218 signatures. The current process only allows perfected petitions on certain Mondays and only if the House is in session on those days.
4. Increase Committee Transparency: Require three business days’ notice for committee markups, but preserve the entire “good cause” exception.
5. Reform the Motion to Vacate the Chair: Adopt a rule stating that a resolution causing a vacancy in the Office of the Speaker will be privileged if offered by the direction of a major party caucus or conference.
6. Legislative Committee Party Ratios: Commit to a more fair party ratio for committees. Since ratios change throughout the year due to resignations, special elections etc., ratios have never been and should not be set through the standing rules of the House. We are also aware of the Minority’s need to negotiate for seats they need and how setting ratios in the standing rules could inadvertently restrict their needs. However, we agree that to the extent possible party ratios on legislative committees (including Intelligence and Joint and Select Committees, but excluding Rules and Ethics) should reflect the party ratio of the entire House.
7. A More Inclusive Amendment Process: Commit to a more fair and inclusive legislative process where more ideas and amendments are debated, and there is less of a reliance on closed rules.
8. Preserve “Majority Markups”: Ensure that a majority of the Members of a committee can request and schedule a markup of the committee they serve on.